Reconciling Evolution | Part One

Though the theory of evolution has revolutionized the biological sciences, bringing the theory into the classroom still causes some fear and trembling—from teachers, students, parents. Last fall we spent some time with a group of people who have been researching how to teach evolution better, in a way that acknowledges the emotional and religious tensions that comes into the classroom and attempts to help students understand the science of evolution while retaining—even bolstering—their faith. In this episode we talk about the history of teaching evolution and introduce some of the research from the team.

7 Likes

I’m looking forward to this one. I’m off for the next 4 days and it’s storming and so I’m finishing up Archive81 on Netflix and then as soon as I begin cleaning the house I’ll probably turn on this episode.

2 Likes

Be sure to report back here and let us know what you think! Stay safe with the storms!

2 Likes

I really enjoyed listening to it. The backstory leading up to the book and creation of BioLogos was really fun. Hearing a wide range of professionals teaching students being concerned was cool too. Even though I’m under the impression YEC and their mask, ID is fading away it’s still millions in places like America and Africa that believe in it. Probably will still be clinging around as a large-ish belief system a century from now. Maybe.

I’ll looking forward to the next episode and hearing more about the technique they use. I was waiting for Colin Hoogerwerf to dive into the watershed subject for a moment lol.

It was really great to hear that there is a process for people to hear about science without risk to their faith. It’s definitely very important to reach these teens and young adults. I already talk about faith and science with my little nieces and nephew. I was talking to one of my second cousins who is 12 a few weeks back. At that age faith is mostly just whatever you are taught by whoever you respect the most. I was using examples of how fiction does not mean lies when it comes to books.

4 Likes

Prior to Collins “Language of God” being published, there were very few accessible resources out there for people who were struggling to reconcile evolution and Christian faith. That’s why I’m so thankful for Biologos today - and have become a contributor in spite of years of reading articles and listening to the podcasts for free! :grimacing:

I’m so glad that Biologos continues to exist and provide high quality, gracious dialogue for believers and skeptics alike. You’re providing valuable content, but also community, for people like me who always felt like a bit of a heretic in the conservative evangelical church I grew up in, and really made me question whether or not I belonged in the church at all.

Thanks Biologos, for continuing this mission of spreading the good news of Jesus alongside the tricky, yet beautiful, science of evolutionary biology and how these two world views can coexist simultaneously - without having all the answers neatly wrapped up.

14 Likes

I’m looking forward to Part Two!

3 Likes

I like this–the point most are afraid of–of faith loss–is a main focus. They really try to reassure us that the trend is not the case. I think that a YEC friend of mine may enjoy it, and find themselves reassured. Thanks.

Of course, the end doesn’t justify the means, and whether we lose faith or not should not prevent us from treating the science and truth square on; but exploring this area helps communicate to people who are reluctant to do so, that they don’t have to fear. We all have our elephants.

4 Likes

This is the nicest thing anyone has said about us on the Forum in a long time. :sob:

Thank you for your kind words! We do our best and are glad to hear that you have found a home with BioLogos :slight_smile:

(Would love to see you at our conference in March if you are available - conference.biologos.org) :slight_smile:

4 Likes

> "…did God guide or otherwise intervene in the process to guarantee that creatures like us would evolve, … Jim Stump from the podcast @jstump

Reconciliation means “bringing together differing persons or views by each giving in some to meet needs of the other.” That is true even of God. God comes to meet us part way by FORGIVING us so we humans can be reconciled with God. For our part we humans must repent, that is change our self-centered ways so we can accept God’s love for us and love others.

The problem I have with the position of BioLogos on evolution and faith is that this is not reconciliation. It is juxtaposition. It says that faith and evolution are both true without saying how this is possible, without either side yielding to the other.

In my opinion the best way to reconcile faith and evolution is by showing how God guides evolution using natural selection. However, in the statement above you define guidance as intervention “in the process to guarantee that creatures like us would evolve.” This is false as far as I can concerned. The best definition of God’s guidance is the 23rd Psalm and no one insists that David is saying that God is constantly intervening in his life. God knows how to guide while maintaining the freedom and integrity of others and the system.

Darwin did say that somehow natural selection did guide or shape in the minutest detail the direction of evolution. He wrote in The Origin and was quoted recently by Dawkins and E. O. Wilson: “It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing throughout the world every variation, even the slightest, rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to the organic and inorganic relations of life.” Emphasis added. (“Organic and inorganic relations of life” sounds like Ecology!)

My position is simple. Darwin wrote that natural selection guided evolution. Dawkins and Wilson agree. Darwin said that natural selection was guided by the conflict for survival, which is not true. Dawkins says that natural selection is guided by the Selfish Gene, which is also not true. I say that natural selection per se cannot guide anything because that requires an agent, like God. God used natural selection to guide evolution through ecology, which is another discussion.

The reason why conservative Christians reject evolution is not scientific, but theological and philosophical. They built their world outlook on the belief in the Bible. When the Bible came under serious attack from European scientists, many American Christians sought to protect the Bible by insisting that the Bible contains the literal Words of God.

Also, they were victims of Western dualism. If the Bible were not true, then it had to be false, when actually it was true and not true at various levels of meaning. Many Christians erred because they acted in fear instead of faith and sought to protect their faith with false human logic, which they had to justify.

Actually, as John 1:1 & 14 clearly states that the Word of God is Jesus Christ, the Logos, Who is the Rational Word of God. All things were created or evolved through Him and nothing was made without Him that was made. God the Trinity guided evolution using the Logos in the form of ecology.

1 Like

@HRankin I won’t be able to attend the conference in person this year, but with speakers like David Brooks and Katherine Hayhoe it’s sure to be a fantastic event! Hopefully some of the talks will be made available online at some point? :nerd_face:

4 Likes

Good podcast episode As I understand it evolution and intelligent design doesn’t have to conflict I myself see design in nature as well , (it really matters how you define both ID and Evolution) I would make the case that ID doesn’t really belong in a science classroom because it’s really hard to define, easy to abuse and misuse. But evolutionary biology shouldn’t be a stumbling block towards to people of faith.

5 Likes

She has explained elsewhere that yes, there will be online options available.

2 Likes

Excellent episode, and I look forward to the next segment. It was good to hear how former students were able to use the same techniques in their communities. Perhaps we can learn some of those same approaches in our churches and communities to help bridge the divide.

3 Likes

I think our intuition is correct, that there is design, but lowercase ‘id’, because it cannot be scientifically proven as the uppercase ID folks would have us believe. We have evidence giving us reasons to believe (not title case, or upper, RTB ; - ) in God’s providential interventions into timing and placing.

2 Likes

Yes we will have a virtual option :slight_smile:

3 Likes

I enjoyed this. I was intrigued by the opening narrative: initially we were scared of the broader culture wars and so we focussed on evolution, then we branched out, but here we are back at evolution. But I found myself anticipating something that didn’t materialise: maybe that branching out was a mistake that invited being dismissed on culture war grounds?

I don’t know. I’m Australian. We have culture wars too, but we are much more a nation of unbelievers, and so these stupid battles unfold here just the same, largely without reference to faith. And sorry, we spawned Rupert Murdoch.

1 Like

Ah! No regrets! I think they were just trying to emphasize that we aren’t forgetting our “roots” per se, and still talking about evolution in addition to our new topics also :slight_smile:

2 Likes

God is not limited in God’s ability to guide the universe by intervention. Since natural selection is guidance, we need to discuss how either God or Nature uses it to guide evolution. See my essay on God and Freedom on Academia.edu

2 Likes

I am glad you put it in this fashion. Reminds me of a lot of verses, of which Isaiah 42:8 and Deut 6:14 are but a few.

2 Likes

Here, let me correct that: John1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

In my experience, the biblical creationists believe the bible supports the real science - that which can be observed, tested and repeated and falsified. For instance I read a lot of statements here that alludes to the wonderful powers of natural selection when - just as you say - natural selection cannot do anything, much less create the new forms and functions required to move creatures along a continuum of increased complexity. Scientifically, that is just not possible.

Well, I have a question - does Genesis 1 state that everything was created in 6 days or does it not state that? Does Exodus 20:8-11 state that God created everything is 6 days or not? Are those statements literal or what? If you say they are not literally true then I have to ask - By whose authority are you saying so?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.